A Cybernetic analysis of the United States of America's relationship with Iraq

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Virginia Tech

This study applied a theory of marriage and family therapy, specifically cybernetics, to the relationship between the US and Iraqi governments. This study also attempts to describe recent changes in Iraq incurred during the ongoing war in Iraq as either first- or second-order change. Taken from 2001 to 2005, 76 print media articles describing the war in Iraq from three major US news sources were analyzed using grounded theory methodology. Four prominent themes: Military Operation, Costs, Perceptions, and Transition, were identified and described in cybernetic terms such as recursive processes, circular causality, and punctuation. Results suggested that international relationships can be described cybernetically, and that many recursive processes were evident in the war in Iraq. Results also show that determining first- or second-order change is very difficult in large system analyses. Implications for this research are presented and discussed.

larger systems, cybernetics, Iraq War, systems theory, family therapy